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William G. North, PhD

Emeritus Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Molecular and Systems Biology

Australian National University, BS 1964
Melbourne University, MS 1966
U. Queensland, PHD 1973

Neuroscience Center at Dartmouth
Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine


Contact Information

Dartmouth Medical School
1 Medical Center Drive, Borwell 308
Lebanon NH 03756

Office: 603-650-7736
Email: William.G.North@Dartmouth.Edu

Asst. Phone: 603-650-7738

Professional Interests

The studies conducted in this laboratory are centered on the expression of vasopressin and oxytocin genes, and on the post-translational generation of vasopressin, oxytocin, and neurophysins in hypothalamic neurons, small cell carcinoma cells, and breast cancer cells. Patients with Alzheimer's disease have reduced brain levels of vasopressin, oxytocin, and neurophysins. Vasopressin and its peptide fragments improve short-term memory consolidation and retrieval, while oxytocin functions as an amnesic agent. In tumor cells, vasopressin functions as an autocrine growth regulatory factor acting through all three of its receptors. In addition, vasopressin-related proteins are markers for small cell lung cancer and breast cancer. More recent studies feature the importance of NMDA receptors to growth and survival of small-cell, breast, pancreatic, ovarian, and prostate, tumors and how this discovery can be utilized clinically using NMDA receptor blockade with antagonists and antibodies.

Courses Taught

Medical Endocrinology
G.I. Physiology
Biomedical Ethics

Selected Publications


Small-cell lung cancer growth inhibition: synergism between NMDA receptor blockade and chemotherapy.
North WG, Liu F, Dragnev KH, Demidenko E
Clin Pharmacol. 2019;11:15-23. doi: 10.2147/CPAA.S183885. Epub 2019 Jan 23.
PMID: 30774453

NMDA receptors are important regulators of pancreatic cancer and are potential targets for treatment.
North WG, Liu F, Lin LZ, Tian R, Akerman B
Clin Pharmacol. 2017;9:79-86. doi: 10.2147/CPAA.S140057. Epub 2017 Jul 17.
PMID: 28761381

NMDA receptors are expressed in human ovarian cancer tissues and human ovarian cancer cell lines.
North WG, Liu F, Tian R, Abbasi H, Akerman B
Clin Pharmacol. 2015;7:111-7. doi: 10.2147/CPAA.S90367. Epub 2015 Oct 23.
PMID: 26566373

Growth Impairment of Small-Cell Cancer by Targeting Pro-Vasopressin with MAG-1 Antibody.
North WG, Cole B, Akerman B, Pang RH
Front Oncol. 2014;4:16. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2014.00016. Epub 2014 Feb 11.
PMID: 24575387

Detection of Provasopressin in Invasive and Non-invasive (DCIS) Human Breast Cancer Using a Monoclonal Antibody Directed Against the C-terminus (MAG1).
Keegan BP, Memoli VA, Wells WA, North WG
Breast Cancer (Auckl). 2010 Apr 8;4:15-22. Epub 2010 Apr 8.
PMID: 20697529

Native MAG-1 antibody almost destroys human breast cancer xenografts.
North WG, Pang RH, Gao G, Memoli VA, Cole BF
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Jun;127(3):631-7. doi: 10.1007/s10549-010-1009-6. Epub 2010 Jul 13.
PMID: 20625819

NMDA receptors are expressed by small-cell lung cancer and are potential targets for effective treatment.
North WG, Gao G, Jensen A, Memoli VA, Du J
Clin Pharmacol. 2010;2:31-40. doi: 10.2147/CPAA.S6262. Epub 2010 Apr 1.
PMID: 22291485

Breast cancer expresses functional NMDA receptors.
North WG, Gao G, Memoli VA, Pang RH, Lynch L
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2010 Jul;122(2):307-14. doi: 10.1007/s10549-009-0556-1. Epub 2009 Sep 26.
PMID: 19784770

Provasopressin expression by breast cancer cells: implications for growth and novel treatment strategies.
Keegan BP, Akerman BL, Pequeux C, North WG
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2006 Feb;95(3):265-77. Epub 2005 Dec 6.
PMID: 16331351

Immunohistochemical detection of NRSA on small cell lung cancer with a monoclonal antibody (MAG-1) that recognizes the carboxyl terminus of provasopressin.
North WG, Memoli VA, Keegan BP
Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol. 2005 Dec;13(4):363-6.
PMID: 16280667

View more publications on PubMed